29 November 2015

My first Lady Skater dress!

My first selfmade stretch dress! Yay!

I bought this nice knit fabric at the local market, paid 15€ for 1.6 metres of fabric. The moment I saw it, I knew it had to be mine. The lady selling the fabric tried to show me some more nice knit fabrics, but it was this one that I coveted. It was my favourite colour, dark blue, and in a pattern, so not too boring.

But.. there was only 1.6 metres left on the bolt... Could I make a dress out of it? At first I googled a bit, to try and find Indy patterns for dresses and looking at their fabric requirements. Most of them needed about 2 metres. So byebye dress plan :-(

So, I started looking at patterns for sweaters and skirts. Maybe make something out of the ook Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, no, that book is in the storage and probably in the boxes at the back. So no option.

But still the dress kept looming in the back of my mind.

And then I found it! The Lady Skater Dress pattern!

Yes, of course, how silly of me not to think of this dress. I've seen this dress made so many times on the blogs I follow. So why did I forget about it? After looking at the fabric requirement I was positive it would fit on my fabric. Of course most patterns base their amount of fabric you need on the largest size.

I found it funny to base my size on the highbust measurement, this is the first time I came across a pattern who uses this method. Well, this is the first time I made a knit dress ;-)
Measuring all it became clear I needed a size 3.

But first, I needed to buy the PDF pattern. And what in pain in the *ss that was! Tuesday I looked the pattern up on their website. Wednesday I tried to buy it (after finally deciding I wanted it), but then the wesite was under maintenance. Well ok, waited a couple of hours, tried it again, but now the whole website was gone! Oh dear. I thought it would still be those same maintenance troubles, so I waited again a couple of hours. Tried it again, same problem. This time I googled a bit, and came across a message on Facebook from the seller.
Ah, so that's the problem! Ok, went to the new website. Tried to buy it with Paypal. Didn't work. Aaah, I was so frustrated!  It seems more people had the same problem.

Finally I worked it out and started printing the pattern, only to find out that my colour ink was almost gone. And of course the different sizes are marked in different colours on the pattern, just my luck. Well, I worked it out in the end, taped the pattern together and could just see the line for size.

So I ended up taping the pattern pieces together at 10 p.m. and kept on sewing till 1 am. Almost finished by then! The next day I only had to sew the sleeve ends and hem the skirt.

And I'm so happy with it! The pattern is really easy and the sewing guide is perfect! Quite a lot of pictures which helped me a lot with sewing my first stretch dress and sewing with clear elastic for the first time. Such an easy thing to use, but what a change it makes.

All the website troubles aside I can really recommend this pattern, to beginners and to experienced seamstresses.

without belt
I love this dress and I'm guessing there will be many more Lady Skater dresses made in the future... 

On the same day I wore it for the first time, I went to buy new knit fabric :D 
Came home with these beauties:

i love the foxes!
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11 September 2015

Blue dress

Wow, this is the third dress I made from the 3417 Simplicity pattern. Here is my first and my second version. I really love this pattern! The result is a dress wearable as modern wear and for 1940's re-enactment. bought the fabric for 6€ at the Noordermarkt. The sun was very bright and beautiful, so sorry for squinting my eyes so much. 

So, third time using this pattern, but first time for marking my seam a different way.

I used a chalk hem marker to mark my skirt seam. I don't have a dress form at home (it's in storage at my parents), so marking the hem that way isn't an option. And with my boyfriend at work, a girl has got to mark her hems herself. I bought a chalk hem marker for just 2€ at a secondhand shop. I think it's from the 1970's or perhaps 1980's? Or could it be earlier?

Anyway, chalking the hem was a fun thing to do. The only thing that gave me trouble, was the side and back. That's because the skirt isn't straight and tends to hang in folds. Well, how on earth can one chalk in the folds? The option is to spread it open (with one hand, as the other holds the puff to chalk), but then the fabric won't hang correctly... In the end I winged it a bit and took the gamble. The hem is now a tiny bit longer at the back, but it doesn't bother me very much.

My conclusion: I need to use this hem marker more! It's such a useful thing and it's funny to watch the chalk fly :-)

The sleeves have a special construction, next post I'll show you the details.


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03 September 2015

On the needles

Next project on my knitting needles is the Deco cardigan. It looks like I'm knitting a lot of cardigans, that's because I want to prepare for the autumn chill. I don't have a lot of cardigans I can wear with skirts or dresses. For that purpose they need to be waist length and all of my store-bought cardigans are hip length. 

gin&tonic and knitting: perfect

So I'm knitting this pattern. It's a simple pattern and it's knitted from the bottom up and seamless. That's so lovely to knit! For the sleeves I'm learning a new short row technique. It's called Sunday Short Rows (or Wrapless short rows) and actually a very easy way to knit in sleeves. With the standard wrap&turn short rows I always forget which stitch I need to put on which needle. The Sunday Short Rows uses a contrast yarn, so you never forget where you are! In the last picture you see my contrast yarn, it's white so not very noticeable! 

The yarn is the beautiful Excelana and bought in Edinburg, at Kathy's Knits. The colour is Nile Green, don't you just love that name?

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01 September 2015

Vianne finished!

Remember my cherries dress for the Outfit-A-Long 2015? I did finish the dress on time, but the cardigan took me a little longer to finish. The deadline was the 1st of August. I finished the Vianne on the 10th of August. 

I loved this pattern! The back has an interesting lace detail and once you get to know the stitch repeats, it's very easy. Unfortunately the first time I worked on the back piece I made a lot of mistakes. Those mistakes which aren't big ones, but you notice them anyhow. My knitting group made up of co-workers gave me the advice to start over. I also had some reservations about the size I started to knit, but once again my co-workers gave some great advice and said the size was perfect. 

I love working topdown and knitting Andi Satterlund's patterns! I can really recommend her patterns. I love it how she uses big yarn and negative ease. 

And I hate picking up stitches, but this helped me a lot. 

The only thing that bothers me is the underarm bit, you can see it being a bit big in the picture (right). But when moving that arm you can't see it. Perhaps it has to do with picking up too many stitches in the underarm. 

my boyfriend wanted a close up ;-)
The yarn is so soft! I love Merino! 

The buttons are purple mother-of-pearl and have a little flower engraved on them. The top buttons tends to pop open, so I'm thinking about removing the button and sewing the buttonhole shut. 

More knitting info on Ravelry.

Did I tell you how much I love this cardigan? :D

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09 August 2015

Cherries Outfit-A-Long 2015

Did you hear about the Outfit-A-Long hosted by Lladybird and Andi Satterlund? It's something different than the Me-Made-May and that's what caught me. The Outfit-A-Long is about making a whole outfit: a dress and cardigan. Most of the time the 'a-longs' are about creating one garment, either knit or sewn. But this time it's to garments to make a complete outfit.  Well, deciding to join wasn't very hard, because I love all the knitting patterns of Andi Satterlund and I have enough dress patterns. 

I feel so inspired by all those lovely pictures at Instagram: look for them under #oal2015. 
First I thought of using the Colette Parfait pattern and a light blue chambray-like fabric. But in the end I changed my mind about the light blue, I always have trouble using that colour in my wardrobe. A different fabric was needed and a rummage in my fabric stash (in the secret compartment of this couch), I found the perfect fabric. 

I made a Parfait before and was very happy with the pattern. Although I don't wear the Parfait dress not very much, it isn't because of the pattern but because the fabric is very distinctive. 

This time the fabric is better suited for everyday wear. It's a nice cherryprinted black cotton. It has that nice retro dress feeling and it's been in my stash for ages, forgotten at the bottom of my Ikea sofa. Finally I was going to use this fabric! The only problem: it was a very thin, almost see-through cotton... O dear. The Parfait dress isn't lined, so if I would just use this fabric without modifications, I would end up with a see-through dress! Not something I want to wear! 

Solution: I bought a light black cotton at the local market, 3 metres for 10€. This would be the lining. 
Unfortunately I can't remember how much the cherry printed fabric had cost, but I do remember they were coupons because of a misprint. So i'm guessing it costs me about 10-15€.  

The patterns uses fusible interfacing. I bought mine here and it cost me 1,60€. 

You need two buttons for the tabs, I made mine using a Flying Tiger fabric button kit. Can't remember the cost, but I'm guessing it's 3€. 

Total costs: 29,60€. That's without the pattern and yarn. The dress would have been cheaper if I didn't need that black cotton. 

The pictures are made on the biennial Dutch Royal Navy days. A lovely day with sunshine and lots of ships to look at! (and don't forget the sailors and marines ;-)). 

Changes I made:
- The skirt pattern pieces are lenghtened with 12 cm and are slightly flared. 
- The skirt is lined with black cotton. 
- The bodice pieces are first underlined. 
- The bodice has a lining made of black cotton. 
- I left the facing in fabric out. I cut the only out of fusible interfacing and ironed them on the lining pieces. I saw that idea here

- The straps weren't right the first time, so I had to unpick them. After positioning them in the right place, I topstitched them. That's because the straps are sewn between the fabric and lining. The lining was already in place, so sewing it between those two layers was impossible.

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08 June 2015

Me-Made-May'15 fail

I failed at the Me Made May 2015!

I made the promise to wear at least one me made item per day in May. Well, I thought it wouldn't be that hard, right? I own a lot of me-made clothing and there are even days when I wear a complete outfit made by me. But this May all the weekends I had a re-enactment and some of them really stole all my time away. Which left me with no energy to pick some me-made clothing to wear in the days between the re-enactment weekends. And to be fair, most of those weekdays I had to work, which means I wear my work clothes. They aren't handmade by me ;-) 

So Me Made May 2015 for me meant: wearing historically me-made items in the weekend and wearing my me-made jeans in the weekdays. I didn't take any pictures of it during the week, why would I want to make pictures of the same jeans every day? Boring right? So no proof of the me-made-may for me and a feeling of failing. 

Which led me to the thought that Me-Made-May isn't something for me. I wear a lot of handmade clothes throughout the year. And it gives me great enjoyment to wear my own made clothes and I feel good in them. I feel that documenting this Me-Made-May is more for the people who don't wear a lot of me-made items and to encourage them to wear it proudly. Because most of the time people are afraid of wearing their own creations and throw them somewhere in a dark corner of their closet. I did that in the first years when I made something, the clothes didn't fit with the rest of my clothes or just weren't fitting properly. Now years later and with more sewing experience I have a lot of handmade clothes in my closet. I just don't feel like taking a picture every time I'm wearing it...

Did you participate in the Me-Made-May'15? How do you feel about it? Did it make you wear more me-made clothes?

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30 April 2015

Handmade Vacation

On the shore of Loch Lomond, wearing my Hetty and Skinny jeans

This week I returned from a two-week vacation to Scotland. And let me tell you, it was fantastic! I totally love Scotland, all the people were so nice and the nature is really stunning! We were lucky and only had one day of rain, which gave me a good excuse to hide inside shops :D Especially the Ness store, bought a nice coat there. I also loved browsing the bookshops, mostly at the sewing section. I did see a couple of nice books. But in the end I bought a couple of sewing magazines.

However, most the clothes I brought were handmade. I took at least three skinny jeans, a dress and a handmade skirt: all made by me.

Me on a very windy boat! Wearing my Hetty and Dress

And of course, when going on a vacation, the first thing I pack is my knitting project.

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27 April 2015

Happy King's Day!

Today is the national celebration of King's Day! It's a day with a lot of secondhand junk being sold, drinking beers and just having a great time with friends. And of course, it's a day off for most people. It's a very fun thing to watch all the people celebrating it in their orange clothes with crazy orange accessories. Dutch people can get crazy with orange...

Last year's edition I wore a handmade orange dress, but unfortunately I couldn't find the dress today. So strange, I swore I saw the dress this past year almost every week at the bottom of my wardrobe, but when the day is there to wear it I can't find it. Very frustrating and I'm glad my boyfriend doesn't mind me very much when I run around the house, trying frantically to find it and turning everything upside down in the progress. The house now looks like a bomb exploded ;-) 

Anyway, in my search I found my Amsterdam Parfait and eventually I had to admit that it would be a good alternative. King's Day is really great for wearing crazy clothes and the Amsterdam dress falls into that category. So, I combined it with a royal blue legging and blazer. Perfect! 

I did get quite a lot of compliments from strangers on this dress. It really stood out amongst all those orange costumes and people noticed it. So in the end, it was a good thing I couldn't find my orange dress. Amsterdam Parfait saved the day :-)

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26 April 2015

Needles & blouse fabric

Just before I went on a two-week trip to Scotland, I noticed some funny sewing related things. 

The first thing I noticed was when I grabbed a new needle for in my sewing machine. I had recently bought a new package of needles, because it sucks having a needle break and not having a new one! When opening the package to get a needle, I saw that they had a colour on them. Which means that every needle thickness has a different colour. Wow! Finally somebody had thought of this clever trip and now no seamstress ever has to get her magnifying loop to see which needle she puts in her sewing machine! 

The second thing I noticed was when I got to read the may edition of the Knipmode (Dutch sewing magazine). In the extra  that was included with this edition, was a blouse in the same fabric as my Boyfriend shirt! Yay! So funny to see the fabric in a magazine, I never thought it would happen. But I do think the blouse pattern looks a bit boxy and too short. I will never make it. 

the Knipmode blouse

my blouse

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16 April 2015

Armistice blouse

This blouse was made using the Folkwear #210 Armistice Blouse pattern.

The Dreamstress gives a very good tip about using tape instead of selfmade ties and about using bias tape for instead of the fabric front facing. With me using silk I didn't even think about making my own front facing, much too fussy with slippery silk.

I've read a lot of complaints about the sleeves being too long. But since I'm a long-armed girl, I just kept the sleeves as they were. And perhaps, after wearing this for a whole day, I get the feeling the sleeves are a bit short for me. When I stretch my arms, the sleeves don't give a lot of movement, they get stuck on my arms. Of course, it could be because I made the cuffs rather tight. I'll change the button placement and after I've done that, I'll check again if the sleeves feel so short.  

The silk was rather difficult to sew with. I don't have a lot of experience with this slippery silk, most of the time I use taffeta silk, which is much crispier and sews easier. Making the tucks in the silk was a really stupid thing to do. Fussy work! So, if you're using a slippery fabric, forgo the tucks. 

I changed the placement of the bib part. It was a bit too low for my 1910's taste. If I did it like the placement guide says, it will be too low and show my corset cover and perhaps my chemise. So, I just put it higher on the blouse. It would mean the bottom isn't totally covered, but I don't care, that will mostly be under my skirt, so nobody will get to see it.

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